SECTION 3: Key learnings for brands – so far


We have many other powerful examples from the community that help us understand how people are both judging brands in this heightened moral atmosphere – and behaving differently towards them.

Based on our research, we’re building a checklist of things brands need to do to get it right:

  1. Do something positive, and do it quickly, otherwise the boat will have sailed. Unfortunately, Covid-19 is unlikely to disappear anytime soon – so there’s still time for brands to take positive action.
  2. Walking the talk – saying the right thing isn’t enough as it doesn’t align with the scale of the problem, the spotlight is on what brands are doing
  3. Stepping up, not cashing in – people need to see some self-sacrifice in pursuit of the common good, measures that put people before profit
  4. Being consistent, aligning all touchpoints – the positive impact of genuine efforts to support one cohort (eg healthcare workers) can be by undermined by failure to support another cohort (eg employees)
  5. Finding ways to activate the positive dimensions of the key moral foundations. For example, to activate our instinct to protect others (the Care/Harm module) – taking real, meaningful steps to protect the health, safety and/or the financial wellbeing of those who are most vulnerable (i.e. frontline/essential workers, the elderly, those who have lost their jobs/businesses).


Understanding the lenses through which people are judging brands in this new moral space gives companies a crucial leg up in terms of driving their response and framing their messaging. Connecting with consumers to find out how they are thinking, feeling and behaving – both personally and professionally – therefore becomes a vital piece of the puzzle.

If you’d like to hear more about the other moral intuitions we have seen being triggered in the current environment, or trade thinking and ideas based on our blog – please drop us a line here!